ISL 2019-20: Odisha hosts Bengaluru FC after hat-trick of draws

Currently third on the ISL table, defending champion Bengaluru FC will move to the summit with a win against Odisha FC in Pune.

Odisha FC players train ahead of the match against Bengaluru FC.   -  ISL Media

Bengaluru FC (BFC), following a lukewarm start to its ISL campaign, will look to pick up pace when it meets Odisha FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

Carles Cuadrat’s men are coming off a disappointing result, held as they were to a 1-1 draw by a 10-man Hyderabad FC last Friday. But in the absence of a clear runaway leader, BFC is third in the table with 10 points, just one point off the top.

“I’m expecting a tough game tomorrow,” said Cuadrat ahead of the match. “Yes, we’ve drawn four games this season, but we’ve been the dominant side in those games. We haven’t been at our best in certain aspects, and that is what we are working on as a team.”

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Josep Gombau’s Odisha is an attack-minded side but has played out three successive draws including two goalless ones. With just one win from six games, it will be desperate for points. Much will then depend on playmaker Xisco Hernandez, formerly of BFC, and Aridane Santana, who have scored seven of Odisha’s eight goals thus far.

“Odisha use the ball well,” said Cuadrat. “They move the ball from one side to the other and try to make use of the qualities of their foreigners . We have to avoid that danger. But I am happy with my defence. So far we have just conceded one penalty against Goa and the one goal from open play (Hyderabad).”

For the match, BFC will continue to miss Spanish striker Manu Onwu, who is still nursing an ankle injury, while defender Carlos Delgado is a doubt for Odisha.

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